When Momma Loses It

It's Christmas time. 
The trees outside our window.

 The snow ices the trees in frosty white, familiar carols are played, cards are ready to be sent and the excitement in our home builds as we decorate our tree and read our advent passages.  Such a joyful time of year and yet... 
in the midst of all this wonder and beauty I can become the worst version of myself.

We brought home a Christmas tree this past weekend.  It is our family tradition to pick out our Tannenbaum on the first substantial snowfall of the season.  Our oldest son chose a big, beautiful tree and as it was tied to the roof of our van the children all giggled with delight.  It was a 45 minute drive back home in the snow and sleet.  When we brought our tree inside the house it was frosted in ice.  There would be no decorating it until it had a chance to unthaw and dry out.  I tried to cheer up the sad little faces with hot cocoa and special goody baskets that I had prepared in advance for our special night.  The kids sat on the couch watching my husband and I strategically place a dozen towels underneath the tree to catch the rivers of water that began pouring off of it.  We tried moving the tree around the room to see where it would look best but nothing really looked right... the tree was MUCH bigger than we thought.  So we decided to call it a night and we all went to bed. 

I awoke at 5:30am, not because I wanted to, but because the two youngest who had come into our bed in the middle of the night, were now wide awake and letting me know their bellies were hungry.  We pitter pattered down the stairs while the older boys slept.  Daddy was already outside snow blowing the driveway.  I set the little ones up on the couch with graham crackers and sippy cups of milk as I moved the tree around.  I gathered up all of the soaked towels from the night before to throw in the washing machine, leaving a pine needle trail behind me.  I rearranged furniture, moved the tree, vacuumed up pine needles and repeated the process numerous times before our twelve year old came down the stairs.  He assisted me in finding the perfect spot for the tree but of course that only happened after the tree fell on top of me (did I mention it is HEAVY), all of the water spilled out of the base, and we had to use the rest of the clean towels in the house to mop it up.  The poor boy also witnessed his mother having a temper tantrum as I muttered out loud about the "stupid tree".  

I love Christmas and yet here I was, with a tear streaked face, crying over a tree, as my precious son looked on and apologized for choosing a tree that was too big.  He was not the one who needed to be apologizing.  I looked at my boy, more of a young man now that he is almost as tall as me and his youthfulness is fading as he begins his journey to manhood.  I apologized to him, apologized for my emotions and meltdown, apologized for making him feel like he had done something wrong, apologized for not having a better handle on these crazy hormones, and I held him close, reaffirming him and telling him how beautiful the tree was.  Together we cleaned up the mess and found the ideal spot for our tree.  We washed and folded three loads of towels.  I vacuumed a dozen times and while the children played outside I put the lights on the tree as I talked to the Lord about my shortcomings and failures... and I felt peace.

Everything worked out.  It always does, but it is hard to remember that in the heat of the moment.

I have so many examples of how I've failed, especially in the past few weeks.  Satan loves it when I have my meltdown moments.  He knows how they stick like Velcro to my heart and he knows the stinging barb it leaves on my soul.  He points his finger and says:
"You'll never change".
"You're ruining your children and they will grow up to loathe you."
"You call yourself a Christian.  What a poor example you are."
"You have failed... yet again."

In these moments I have a choice to make.  I can believe what the Father of Lies tells me and I can allow it to drag me down into the miry pit where it is hard for me to see the light of day.  Or... I can choose to own my sin, to ask my children's forgiveness, to ask God's forgiveness, and to believe what His Word says in the Psalms.
103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

Will you join me in letting God remove our sin and leaving it with Him?  Satan cannot beat us up with sin we've truly surrender to Christ.  Satan can only use our sin when we hold onto it.  We CAN make right choices that honor God.  We have the ability to do so with the Lord's help. ( I am talking to myself here as much as I am talking to you, so take hope!  We fight a similar battle.)  Will we mess up?  Yes.  We are human.  However, even when we mess up we can set the right example to our children.  They are looking and watching and they will imitate our behavior.  It is better for them to see us fail and see a heart of repentance, seeking God's forgiveness and the forgiveness of others rather than seeing us flogging ourselves and allowing ourselves to have a pity party and be dragged further down.  

We need to seek God's face WITH our children.  When they see us seeking His forgiveness and theirs then we all together get to experience the beautiful healing and restoration that comes from our Redeemer.  

As I mentioned above, I have had many moments over the past few weeks where I have had to ask my children's forgiveness.  As evening approached on the day the tree episode occurred, I gathered my kids around me.  Daddy was not home yet from work, dinner had yet to be made, my to-do list was shouting at me, but I knew I needed to have my babes around me.  They told me stories about their sledding adventures and how they built a snowman.

Their snowman, complete with carrot nose and very long arms for hugging.  :)

They gazed at the lights on the Christmas tree and talked about the evening ahead and how we would get out the ornaments and decorate.  I apologized to them for being so easily frustrated lately.  We talked for a while as the Christmas music played in the background and I became teary as I realized just how much my children show me Christ.  They forgive me and they love me IN SPITE OF who I am.  And the Christmas music played:

"Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love Divine,

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and Angels gave the sign."

Wishing you a blessed Christmas season as you bask in the love that came down to save us.  Once again, thank you for allowing me to share my life with you.  You are so special to me and I thank God for you, my precious readers.